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Tri fare pilgrimage in Rosalnice

Rosalnice 8330 Metlika
++386 7 305 83 31
The renowned Tri fare pilgrimage centre is located in the north-eastern part of the village of Rosalnice near Metlika. The pilgrimage complex is distinguished by three Gothic churches, which are enclosed by a high churchyard wall. The churches stand side by side: the northern church is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, the central church is dedicated to Ecco homo (Behold the Man) and the southern church is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.

The lack of archival sources means that the history of the ecclesiastical and architectural development of the complex is still unclear. On the grounds of Valvasor's account and other historical references, some authors have suggested that the churches were built by the Knights Templar in the second half of the 12th century. Rosalnice is first mentioned as a village (Rosendorf) in the written sources in 1490, but it is certain that it was the site of a church, mentioned in a charter dated to 1228, issued by Berthold von Andech, the Patriarch of Aquileia. He reorganised the ecclesiastical division of Bela krajina, then called Metlika, at the behest of the Countess Zofia of Višnja gora, who held the livings of the churches in the region. It is likely that the Rosalnice church was the seat of one of the earliest parishes in Bela krajina, becouse the witnesses to the charter include the then parish priest Henrik (de sancta Maria). Patriarch Berthold established a new parish at the church of Sv. Peter (St. Peter) in Črnomelj and placed all the existing churches in Bela krajina under its control.These churches were located at Rosalnice, Semič, Vinica and Podzemelj. There are several explanations for the origins of the above churches. One hypothesis suggests that they were founded at the begining of the 13 th century, when the Counts of Višnja gora or Andech annexed Bela krajina. A second hypothesis suggests that they may have been founded before or after the foundation of the Bishopric of Zagreb (c. 1093), which laid claim to jurisdiction over this territory. Whatever the truth of the matter is, only one church is mentioned at Rosalnice or rather at Log (apud Augiam, Nawa) as the place was then called, until the 16 th century. The first mention is in 1275. The Teutonic Knights in Ljubljana were granded the parish of Črnomelj and all of its filial churches in 1268. The parish of Rosalnice (Log) is cited in the papal tithe list of the Patriarchy of Aquileia in1296, but remaine subordinate to the parish priest and knight commander of Črnomelj until the mid 14 th century. The parish seat was in the northern church at Rosalnice. Continuous Turkish raids, especially in 1469, led to the relocation of the parish seat in the sixth or seventh decade of the 15 th century. The new seat was at the church of Sv. Nikolaj (St. Nicholas) in Metlika (formerly Novi trg - New Market). The Teutonic Knights built a new centre for the Order, the Commendam, inside the town walls at the beginning of the 14 th century. They were formerly quartered in a monastery in the immediate vicinity of the Marian church. This complex has been recently uncovered in archaeological excavations.
Refugee Franciscan monks from Bosnia fled to Rosalnice in the first half of the 15 th century, where they remained until their final flight to Novo mesto in 1469. The Rosalnice complex developed as an important pilgrimage centre in the second half of the 15 th century or the first half of the 16th century, when the central church was built. This period also marks the origin of the name Tri fare, which was first mentioned by Valvasor. Pilgrimages were at their height in the 18th and 19th centuries, when Tri fare was a pilgrimage destination for people from Žumberačka gora, Croats and Slovenes, as well as Orthodox believers, giving the centre a wider religious and cultural character.

The northern church is the largest and probably the earliest of the three churches. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. The building date is defined to some extend by the pirriform sections of the ribs to the end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century. A more pertinent fact regarding the date can be seen in the distribution of indulgences, al well as the dedication of the presbytery and high altar by Brother Francis, the Aquileian vicar feneral, in 1383. This activities could be connected with the construction of a new church. The Gothic church was later remodelled several times, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries. Particular attention was paid to the nave, where the window openings were modernised. A barrel vault with strong pilasters replaced the flat wooden ceiling. A choir loft was built in the western end and a two-floored sacristy was built on the southern side. The modern building comprises the presbytery, the rectangular nave and a sacristy on the southern side. Although the original Gothic plan of the church has remained unchanged with the exception of the secondary sacristy, only the single polar presbytery with four buttresses and dripstone-course has retained its original form. The area was illuminated by high pointed windows, which have been partially bricked-up. The only surviving Gothic element in the nave is the richly profiled pointed portal with a lunette on the console in the western wall. The presbytery interior has a cruciform vault with ribs, resting on geometric corbels. The bosses above the alter bear a Double Cross in a heraldic shield and two coats-of arms, whose identification might solve the problem of the exact building date. The presence of the Double Cross instead of Mary on the central boss argues in favour of specific devotion to the Holy Cross, which may be explained by reference to the builders, the Teutonic Knights. The church exterior is largely the result of 19th century remodelling, when painted pilasters covered the Baroque architectural painting. The largely 19th century gravestones in the façade are also worthy of attention. Specific mention must be made of the gravestone of the Mayor or Metlika, Anton Reš, who died in1871. This is one of the first works of the sculptor, Alojzij Gangl (1859-1935). Another notable example is the 1842 gravestone of Mihael Vouk.
Particular attention should be paid in the church interior to the late Baroque altar and pulpit, which was the work of a Dolenjska or Posavje master craftsman or workshop in the first half of the 18th century. The central niche of the richly architecturally decorated base of the main altar is adorned by a statuette of Mary, embracing the dead Christ. It is flanked ba a statue of St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, the arches bear statues of St. Mary Magdalene and St. John of Evangelist, whilst the space in the altar Attic is occupied by God the Father. The side altars are also distinguished by their high quality workmanship and rich decoration. The south altar is dedicated to St. John of Nepomuk, who is depicted in the picture in the central niche. He is flanked by statues of St. Ambrose in St. Augustine. The patron of the northern altar is probably St. Francis of Paola, flanked by St. Nicholas and St. Martin. The pulpit is also decorated. Putti and angelic heads predominate, whilst the baldaquin bears a representation of Jesus and two scribes. The valuable fittings also include the organ, which was made by Johannes Georg Eisel (1708-1780). The organ, which is decorated with Baroque ornamental elements and a statuette of King David with a harp. The painting in the church inself is also rich in iconography and repertoire. The cronogram on the choir gallery states that Josip Egartner of Kranj painted them in1842. The nave vault and Triumphal arch are painted with Old Testament scenes (Adam and Eve, the Expulsion from Eden, the Flood, Noah's Offering, Abraham offering Isaac, the Dream of Jakob, the Gathering of Mana, the Plague of Serpents, the Ten Commandments). The medallions are largely filled with depictions of the Prophets, whilst the upper walla are occupied by personification of the virtues. The lower walls are occupied by images of the Apostles, which continue into the presbytery, where the walls bear some scenes from the New Testament (the Nativity, the Last Supper, the Mount of Olives, the Resurrection, the Ascension).

The proportions and building elements of the central church suggest that it was probably built in the late 15th or early 16th century. A belfry was built on to the western end in the 17th century. A porch was added in the 18th century, when the interior of the nave was also altered to s sub-octagonal form with a cupola. The 19th and 20th centuries saw renovations, which badly impacted the historical content of he church. The church was initially composed of a single-polar presbytery with five-eighths terminal, which was surrounded on the exterior by four buttresses and a dripstone-course. The original nave was almost square in plan. The only Gothic arhitectural elements that have survived are the vaulting system with wedge-profiled ribs on geometric corbels and the pointed Triumphal arch. The original windows have been filled in. The ribs from a cruciform vault without a transverse rib. The intersections of the ribs are decorated with two rosette-shaped bosses. The moste notable part of the fittings is the main altar from the end of the 18th century. The central niche contains on image of the scourged Christ, flanked by St. Cosimus and St. Damian, whilst the arches besr representations of St. Peter and St. Paul. Christ on the Orb of the World, accompained by putti and angels, is depicted in the space on the altar Attic. Another fitting of some note is the altar in the nave, which bears a statue of the Holy Mother of God with the dead Christ. It was erected in the first half of the 18th century and was particulary venerated by women, who sought a husband. The wall paintings, dated to 1862, are also worthy of note. They are the work of the painter Jurij Tavčar from Idrija, a pupil of Josip Egartner. The vivid paintings in the presbytery depict scenes from lives of the saints (The Calling of St. Peter, the Supper in Emaus), whilst those on the walls of the nave depict the Blessed Mary with Robe, Our Lady of the Rosary, Mary Magdalene, Jesus the Good Sheperd and St. Peter, whilst the cupola is decorated with scenes from the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.

Valvasor was the first to mention this church in 1689. Earlier evidence of the existence of the southern church can be seen in a newly discovered graffiti with a date of 1565. as well as the remains of a recently lifted fresco of th4e Crucifixion that dates to about 1500. The medieval sources probably refer to the northern church, but this not does exclude the possibility that the church existed prior to 1400. It is likely that two churches stood here at an early date. The structure of the presbytery walls and the vault ribs indicate that the presbytery was not built at the same time as the nave. It was probably built on to the earlier nave in the 16th century. It was enlarged and surrounded with buttresses at the beginning of the 15th century. The church underwent radical remodelling in the 18th century, when the now bricked-up rectangular windows were inserted and architectural painting was created on exterior. The single nave was transformed into a triple nave with new window openings in the 19th century. The building comprises a single-polar Gothic presbytery, surrounded by four buttresses and a dripstone-course, as well as a rectangular nave. In addition to the buttresses, the Gothic architectural elements include the vault, whose ribs rest on geometric consoles and from a cruciform vault, as well as a profiled, richly decorated Aumbry in the northern wall. The Aumbry bore polychrome decoration, but one of the remodellings events badly damaged the polychrome decoration and the profiling. The southern exterior of the presbytery bore a late Gothic multi-figured fresco of the Crucifixion, which was flanked by two destroyed scenes. There is Baroque architectural painting on the nave, comprising painted corners and the borders of the bricked-up rectangular windows. Semicircular 19th century windows now illuminate the nave. Three pairs of pillars with wall semi-pillars bear the vault. Two pairs of threequarter pillars from the Triumphal arch . The New-Gothic altar dates to the begining of the 20th century, when the chutch was rededicated. The central niche containes Our Lady of Lourdes, flanked by St Ann and St. Bartholomew. The largest pilgrimage at Rosalnice takes place on St. Bartholomew's Sunday.

(povzeto po zgibanki Po poteh kulturne dediščine Dolenjske in Bele krajine, ki sta jo izdali Koordinacijski odbor projekta Po poteh dediščine Dolenjske in Bele krajine in Občina Metlika.
vsebinska zasnova: Zavod za varstvo naravne in kulturne dediščine
tekst: mag. Robert Peskar)


Župnišče Metlika 
Mestni trg 14 
Tel. : ++386 7 305 83 31 
Web site : 

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GPS Northing (N) : 45,652 
GPS Easting (E) : 15,3378 


Place: Rosalnice
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Administrator : TIC Metlika | ++386 7 363 54 70 |
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